"Quit Today, Be There Tomorrow" Urges Health Department

From today through January 16, New Yorkers who want to quit smoking can apply for free nicotine patches and lozenges by visiting nysmokefree.com or calling 1-866-NY-QUITS

Using cessation medications, such as nicotine patches and lozenges, and counseling can double the chances of quitting successfully

Man in hospital bed wearing respirator. Woman and child looking at him, concerned. Text states: Quit today. Be There Tomorrow.

December 30, 2019 — The Health Department today launched an anti-smoking media campaign featuring the family of a person affected by a smoking-related disease. The campaign, titled “Quit today. Be there tomorrow,” depicts a young girl beside her dad in a hospital room, telling him a story about a game she played with her uncle, and ends with her saying “you should have been there.” From today through January 16, New Yorkers who want to quit smoking can apply for free nicotine patches and lozenges by visiting nysmokefree.com or calling 1-866-NY-QUITS. The $1.2 million campaign (PDF) will run in English, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Mandarin, Cantonese and Russian. It will appear in newspapers (PDF), online, on the subway, Staten Island Ferry and TV.

“This campaign is a powerful reminder for New Yorkers who smoke that smoking doesn’t just affect you. It affects your family too,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Quitting smoking is the most important step you can make to improve your health. This free giveaway is a great time to try to quit. All New Yorkers should encourage their friends and family who smoke to reach out for help today.”

Tobacco continues to be a leading cause of preventable death in New York City, killing an estimated 12,000 people annually.

Tobacco use can cause stroke, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, vascular disease, and more than 10 types of cancer. Cigarettes are the only consumer products that kill up to half of people who use them long-term. Although adult smoking rates in New York City declined from 21.5% in 2002 to 12.8% in 2018, there are still almost 900,000 adult New Yorkers who smoke. The 2018 New York City Community Health Survey found a smoking rate of 13% among Whites, 14% among Blacks, and 11% among Latinos and Asians. Rates were 18% among adults who took the survey in Russian or Chinese.

In August 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a package of bills into law to reduce tobacco use, which included banning the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies; raising the minimum prices for all tobacco products; capping the number of tobacco retailers citywide; creating a retail license for e-cigarettes that was not open to pharmacies, effectively banning e-cigarettes from pharmacies; capping the number of e-cigarette retailers; and promoting smoke-free spaces in residential settings.

Tips to Make Quitting Easier:

  • Find your reasons. Make a list of your reasons for quitting and read it often.
  • Pick a quit date. Choose a day that works for you and gives you time to prepare. Throw out all of your cigarettes beforehand, and get rid of ashtrays and lighters.
  • Get support and encouragement. Tell your family, friends and coworkers that you are quitting and ask for their support.
  • Notice and avoid what triggers cravings. Alcohol, coffee, stress, and being around others who smoke can all trigger cravings. Notice what makes you feel like smoking so that you can avoid those situations, change your routine, and have a plan to deal with your triggers.
  • Keep trying. It takes almost everyone multiple tries to quit smoking, so don’t be afraid to try again. You haven’t failed - you have learned more about your triggers. Throw out your cigarettes and start again.

It’s never too late to quit. Quitting smoking will improve your health no matter how old you are or how long you have smoked.

Connect to Other Resources

  • Visit nyc.gov/health and search "NYC Quits."
  • Talk to your health care provider about medication and counseling options. Most health insurance plans, including Medicaid, cover services to help you quit.
  • Download the NYC HelpMeQuit app from Apple or Google Play stores.
  • Visit nyc.gov/health and search "Health Map" to find local quit smoking programs.
  • Visit Facebook.com/nycquits.



MEDIA CONTACT: Patrick Gallahue/Stephanie Buhle: (347) 396-4177,